Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Beverages

Beverages are drinks. They exist in a wide variety, are alcoholic or nonalcoholic, and come from a range of sources. After plain water, tea is the most consumed drink in the world, with about 6 billion cups drunk per day. Many drinks are associated with specific sustainability issues. For example, coffee is frequently responsible for tropical deforestation, pesticide spillage and substantial water use for cultivation. As many drinks provide no nutrients necessary for human survival, their consumption, and the associated resource use for their production, could arguably be considered superfluous. With the growth in sugary drinks consumption around the world, there is also an associated increase in obesity and associated non-communicable diseases; to tackle this, some countries are implementing taxes on sugary drinks. Tea and coffee production have also received much negative attention for their association with low labour standards and even slave labour. Various certification schemes such as Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance have attempted to improve conditions for workers and the environment in these industries.

Image credit: Hernán García Crespo, ‘Refrescos’, Flickr, Creative commons licence
28 February 2017

Concerns about the links between trade and investment agreements and the spread of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) have seen increasing scholarly attention in the past years. Reviewing 44 low- and middle-income countries over 13 years, this paper aims to provide a generalizable analysis of how trade and investment liberalisation has affected the growth in sales of SSBs, contributing to the evidence base on how international trade impacts health.

Photo credit: Dean Hochman, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
22 November 2016

This short blog by Michael Hallsworth from the UK’s Behavioural Insight Team, discusses the early impacts of the upcoming soft drinks levy by the UK government. This levy aims to reduce sugar intakes from drinks.

18 October 2016

In a new report, entitled ‘Fiscal policies for diet and the prevention of noncommunicable diseases’, the World Health Organisation (WHO) advocates subsidies and taxes on healthy and unhealthy foods respectively. One of the report’s major conclusions was

8 July 2016

The Oxfam briefing Feeding Climate Change: what the Paris Agreement Means for Food & Beverage Companies looks at commodities and climate change and policy from the perspective of the food and beverage industry.

20 April 2016

This column in Nature by Adam Briggs, public-health researcher at the University of Oxford, discusses the new UK sugar tax which the FCRN wrote about in our last newsletter.

1 April 2016

In this correspondence article in The Lancet researchers from Universities of Oxford and Cambridge analyse the conclusions of the Green budget report. The Green budget is an annual report published by the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS), ICAEW and the Nuffield foundation, which considers the issues and challenges facing the UK as its Government sets the country’s budget for the coming financial year.

18 January 2016

This article in the UK newspaper, the Guardian, tells the story of how Mexico implemented its soda tax in 2014, the political debates that surrounded the decision and the lobbying efforts and reactions of the country’s powerful soda industry.

17 December 2015

A new report by the Commons’ Health Committee discusses the potential of implementing a sugary drink tax as a way of combating child obesity. Sugary drinks are the largest sources of sugar for 11 to 18 year-olds and there is increasing concern over the effects of sugar on people’s health, particularly the health of children and teenagers.

25 March 2015

This study compared the impact that a 20 per cent sales tax and a 20 cents per litre excise tax on beverages such as carbonated non-diet soft drinks, cordials and fruit drinks would have on moderate and high consumers. It found that although high consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages have the least elastic demand, they drink so much that they are up against household budget limits, and therefore adding tax would bring down their consumption.

5 September 2014

Food taxes & subsidies are effective at improving diets, according to a systematic review carried out by Australian researchers and published in the journal Nutrition Reviews. The systematic review analyses evidence from research published between January 2009 and March 2012 looking at the effectiveness of food taxes and subsidies on consumption. Included in the review were only papers assessing a specific food tax and those which directly and prospectively observed consumer responses to a fiscal policy intervention.

6 February 2013

A new report by Sustain, the alliance for better food and farming, calls for the UK Budget 2013 to implement a sugary drinks duty to fund a ‘Children’s Future Fund’ for spending on programmes to improve children’s health and future well-being.

16 January 2012

France’s Constitutional Council has approved a tax on sugary drinks. The tax, which works out to one euro cent per can of drink, is expected to bring in 120 million euros ($156 million) in state revenues.